How to take good profile pictures in 6 steps

Pretty woman in a garden

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So if you’re feeling the pressure of taking good profile pictures for your online dating page, EliteSingles is here to help! Photography expert and PR specialist Toby Aiken has helped us create a master class in how to take a profile picture that helps your online dating success.

Online dating with EliteSingles is about meeting someone with whom you are truly compatible. However, to getting to that stage requires more than just good fortune. This six step master class will help you on your way to meeting that special someone.

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1. Get comfortable

The setting is fundamental to taking good profile pictures. Aiken recommends taking the photo somewhere where you feel at ease – if you are relaxed and comfortable this will come across in the picture which is much more attractive.

He says ‘‘the key to taking a good photograph is making sure that you are comfortable in your surroundings…if you are familiar with your surroundings, then you will be more relaxed and take a better photo…Consciously relax your muscles and try to go with a natural smile:’’ If you feel calm and confident in the photo, it will show in your profile – and that is an image you definitely want to project!

2. Consider the background

While comfort may be key to a successful home photo shoot, don’t let yourself get too relaxed and forget about the background of the photo. ‘’If you go for a shot in your lounge, make sure the background is relatively tidy’’ Let’s be honest, you don’t want the focus of the photo to be taken away from you by a pile of dirty washing in the background!

Prepping yourself is also worth doing. This doesn’t mean giving yourself a full-on makeover; it just requires that you give a little thought to how your clothing and accessories will work on camera. Aiken’s biggest tip here is that colour blocking can be very effective. ‘’Bright colours are fine, as are pale colours, but the important thing is to avoid busy patterns.’’ In other words, you want to be the star of the show – not your clothing.

3. Avoid the profile picture no-nos

There are certain no-goes when it comes to taking good profile pictures. In a recent survey of our members we discovered that revealing clothing was a big turn off. 22% of Irish members said they were not fans of profile pictures that showed too much skin, making stripping off the biggest photo mistake one can make.

According to the survey, other turns offs include wearing sunglasses in photos (picked by 18%) and having poor photo-shopping skills (16%). Surprisingly however, selfies got the thumbs up, being voted unacceptable by only 12% of members.

4. Eye contact

Aiken advises that ‘’the single most important thing in a portrait photo is that the focus should be on the eyes. If your eyes are in perfect sharp focus the overall photo will look good.’’ Indeed, your eyes are such an expressive part of you – they can indicate your emotions and highlight a playfulness, vital to good profile pictures. Not only will it give your potential matches a window into what you’re really like, it may even give them a stronger sense of connection to you. After all, as William Butler Yeats said: ‘’love comes in at the eye.’’

READ MORE: Continue your online dating success = First message Dos and Don’ts

5. Lights, camera, action!

So you’ve arranged your background, your clothing and your camera focus. There’s just one last step to good profile pictures– the lighting! Aiken stresses that the way a photo is lit can make or break the final shot: he suggests, the best thing to do is ‘’get outside, open the curtains and try to use natural light when you can. Flashes can be harsh if not controlled properly so if you are taking the photo yourself or with a friend, try to avoid flash and compensate with natural light.’’

Positioning is important too (especially if you don’t want to squint or – heaven forbid – wear sunglasses!) Aiken says ‘’don’t take a photo outside with the sun shining straight into your eyes. Have the sun behind, or to the side – the result will be much better.’’ Why not try an outside photo in the morning or late afternoon – it’s a flattering natural light for a great photo!

6. Consider going pro

For those wanting to take things to the next level, you may want to consider investing in some high-quality professional portraits. If you really want your profile to stand out, professional photography may be worth considering, especially as only 1% of Irish singles surveyed use professional shots in their profiles.

Aiken suggests that going pro will also help settle your nerves and guarantee good profile pictures. He maintains that ‘a good photographer will make you feel comfortable, and take a good selection of images, and adjust accordingly, making sure you are happy with the result. The lighting will flatter, the background will not distract, and they can make sure you look yourself – very important for your online profile!’’

These are some top tips about how to take a profile picture to help your online dating success. Are you inspired to join? Register with EliteSingles today!

Toby Aiken is a professional photographer and PR expert with extensive portrait experience. You can find him on Twitter or on his website at

If you have any questions about how to take better profile photos, please let us know below or email us at [email protected]. For all technical photo help, including how to upload or delete photos please see the personal profile section of our EliteSingles Knowledgebase.


All percentages based on a survey of 1,000 EliteSingles members from Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and South Africa. Statistics may not equal 100% due to rounding and multiple choice answers.

About the author: Sophie Watson

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